Acting 2-3, debate battles snow, performs in District Competition


Acting 2-3 class members carry props back into school after competition. Photo by Lauren Puckett

Sam Mitchell

Acting 2-3 class members carry props back into school after competition. Photo by Lauren Puckett
Acting 2-3 class members carry props back into school after competition. Photo by Lauren Puckett
On March 1, the RBHS Acting 2-3 class participated in districts Reader’s Theater and One Act competitions in Mexico, Missouri. Each member of the Acting 2-3 class performs in one of the two group events, with 12 members in the One Act performance and 5 in the Reader’s Theater. One Act came back with a second place finish, and Reader’s Theater nabbed fourth. RBHS’ seniors Stephen Turban and Andrew Hutchinson took first in public forum, with juniors Whitney Cravens and Sara Ashbaugh taking second. Hutchinson also placed fourth in poetry.
The One Act competition consists of the groups performing a traditional short play. In One Act performances there are a wide range of props and the actors must have their lines memorized with no scripts, just like a traditional play.
The Reader’s Theater performance is a little different, said Senior Reader’s Theater participant Morgan Widhalm. A Reader’s Theater performance is “basically a choreographed read through of any sort of literature,” said Widhalm. This means that instead of performing the piece by heart, the group of actors reads the script with the style of reading and emphasis put on specific parts acting as the performance aspect.
“Reader’s Theater is modeled after Greek Chorus,” said Widhalm, “so there is an emphasis on the individual saying words vs. the group saying the words together. To emphasize certain parts the whole team will join in.”
A Reader’s Theater performance is also very different from a One Act performance in the way that props and sets are used.  While One Act utilizes a wide range of props and sets Readers’ Theater is very minimalistic with groups only allowed to use three types of props- boxes, stools, and ladders.  As these three objects are moved around they create a picture with symmetry and asymmetry, explained Widhalm.  With the sparse sets and lack of costumes, the performers’ words need to bring the script to life.
For both groups the first two months of this semester have been dedicated to preparing for these performances. They practice every day in class and even out of class at times, frequently practicing through lunches.
If even one person missed practice it made rehearsal nearly impossible, especially for One Act which relies so heavily on each person performing their contributing to the entire group’s sound. With both One Act and Reader’s Theater being group performances the snow days these past two weeks posed major problems in terms of getting prepared on time.
“The snow days definitely slowed the process down and caused a bit of an interruption,” said Senior One Act performer Sam Keller. “We had to hurry to get it all rehearsed in time.”
The missed rehearsal time ended up being too much to overcome as both groups barely missed out on qualifying for the state competition. One Act placed second, with only the number one group qualifying for state, and Reader’s Theater placed fourth, in a group where the top two teams move on to state.
“Unfortunately neither of our groups are moving on to state,” Said Widhalm.  “But considering how the snow days set us back and how one of our members was too sick to come to the performance, requiring us to give her lines to other people, I was very proud of our performance.”
The Acting 2-3 class now turns their attention to new material that will be performed in the Acting and Musical Theater Showcase at the end of the school year.
“It feels good to have performed, given it our best, and be able to move on to new literature,” said Widhalm.  “Its been really stressful these last few weeks, especially with all the interrupted rehearsals, so I think a lot of us are ready to work on some new material.  That being said we’ve had a lot of fun working together – especially due to the close connection required to perform Reader’s Theater in perfect harmony, and I’ve really enjoyed this new unique experience.”
Sam Mitchell